Here's one of my favorite video clips from 2011 — the world's best lindy hop troupe, the Harlem Hotshots, performing at the largest swing dance camp in the world, the Herrang Dance Camp. Sadly, I missed this performance by a week or so when I was there. Still this is some ridiculously badass dancing.
The year 2011 was a fun year for swing and lindy hop. Here are some of my favorite video clips from the past twelve months I wanted to share with you.
Best Classic Routine: Thomas Blacharz and Alice Mei at ILHC
My friend Letta Mercurial turned me on this clip of Thomas and Alice of France dancing the classic division at ILHC. Lots to notice about the video: the overall grace and style of their movement (particularly Alice), the wonderful choreography that hits lots of great moments in the song, the brilliant "shim sham" section, and the false ending. Really great stuff. How did they just get third place?
Favorite Comp Footage: Solo Charleston Competition at ILHC
I love how joyful and spontaneous everyone's movements are in this solo charleston competition at ILHC. Solo Charleston is one of the best things to happen to lindy hop in recent years, allowing individual dancers to shine, preserving and innovating on traditional jazz steps.
Most Elegant: Naomi and Peter's Classic Routine at ILHC
Naomi Uyama and Peter Strom shows how to do a romantic, elegant lindy hop routine, that still manages to be energetic and entertaining.
Best "The Swing" Video: Learn the East Coast Swing
There was a goldmine of painful, but somehow entertaining "The Swing" dancing that we watched this year. But none delighted me as much as this east coast swing instructional video. Everything about it , from the music choice, to the costumes to the cheesy choreography was a complete delight.
Best Advertising: 100 Years of Style
There were a number of ads that featured swing dance in 2011 (See Ford commercial and Simply Western biotech ad). But my favorite was this commercial for a London shopping mall featuring two very talented dancers wearing a huge range of beautiful outfits and dancing in several dance styles. Excellent editing and choice of costumes.
Most Memerific: Super Mario Lindy Routine
Yehoodi frequent contribute Captain Morgan and his partner Emily hit the high score with this awesome Super Mario Brothers homage that was a big hit on the interwebs, featured everywhere from Reddit to G4TV to CBS News.
Best Music Video: "Two Cousins"
There were some excellent music videos in 2011 that featured lindy hop, including the beautifully animated "Evelyn Evelyn", the dancer-produced "Black Coffee" video and the Charleston club mix. But none of them match the artistry, fantastic dancing, and cinematography of the "Two Cousins" music video, for the band Slow Club. Ryan Francois and Remy Kouame are just beautiful to watch in slo-mo, in a loving homage to Al Minns and Leon James.
Funniest Routine: Andrew and Karen's Showcase Routine at Lindy Focus
Okay, technically this was done in December 2010, but I saw it in January. Anyway, this still reigns as the funniest and best homage to late 1990s era lindy from the king and queen of swing silliness, Andrew Thigpen and Karen Turman. I laugh every damn time I watch it.